Mapfre stadium

As 2020 finally comes to an end, many publications are releasing their annual “best and worst” lists, but in a year marred by such tragedy, is anything worth celebrating? Many are simply summing up 2020 with terms like “please end” or “go away,” or letters such as “WTF,” “SMH” or “JFC.” Here in Ohio, there were at leasta few silver linings in a very dark year, but since the good doesn’t always outweigh the bad, we’ll just remember 2020 as “one of those years” and hope for better days in the Buckeye State ahead.


- COVID-19 - This is a no-brainer, as the coronavirus pandemic killed thousands of Ohioans, destroyed the economy and completely disrupted our way of life. Ohio wasn’t the same without the sporting events, concerts, music festivals, county fairs, restaurants and other amazing activities (usually filled with thousands of people!) that make Ohio unique. And while our state was hailed for “getting it right” back in March, we slowly slipped into the same downward spiral that several other states did because thousands of Ohioans didn’t take the virus seriously, killing thousands of others. I mean, WTF.

- THE HB 6 SCANDAL AND REPUBLICAN SUPERMAJORITY -The 133rd Ohio General Assembly was historically terrible, while the Republican supermajority gave us some of the biggest clowns the Statehouse has ever seen. But the biggest kick in the teeth came when the HB 6 scandal broke in July, exposing former Speaker of the House Larry Householder and several Ohio energy companies for using $60 million in bribes to pass a corrupt nuclear bailout bill. And despite being the largest bribery scandal in Ohio history, the GOP supermajority never mustered the votes to repeal it. Oh, also most Republicans thought COVID was a hoax, tried to limit the health department’s powers to deal with it and never wore masks around the Statehouse until a bunch of them got COVID. I mean, SMH.

- THE COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT -And then we have this doozy. After decades of unarmed Black citizens being unnecessarily killed, investigations into corrupt vice units and other scandals, the Columbus Police Department managed to completely bungle the George Floyd protests, which usually remained peaceful until CPD showed up. As I wrote back in June, police forces all over the country ended up proving people’s point -- that many local police departments have become too excessive and are not a responsible use of taxpayer dollars. After pepper spraying elected officialsand starting unnecessary conflicts with countless citizens during the protests, CPD and other central Ohio law enforcement ended 2020 by unnecessarily killing two more unarmed Black men. I mean seriously, JFC.


- DR. AMY ACTON AND OHIO’S FRONTLINE WORKERS -In response to the coronavirus pandemic, people who did know what to do stepped up, often against severe adversity. In Acton’s case it was because she did her job as Ohio’s Public Health Director, receiving flack for the economic effects of the pandemic even though the economy was already collapsing around the world. And while most of Acton’s critics simply didn’t like the role of the public health director, the attacks against Acton became unnecessarily personal, including anti-Semitic remarksand protests outside of Acton’s Bexley home close to where I grew up. Fortunately, Acton’s spirit remained strong throughout the ordeal until she finally chose to step down. Like any good doctor -- and all the Ohio doctors and nurses who went to work everyday to save lives -- Acton did the best she could with what she had and Ohio was better off for it.

- BLACK LIVES MATTER AND OTHER LOCAL ADVOCACY GROUPS - In a year when even more unarmed Black Americans were killed unnecessarily all over the country, the Black Lives Matter movement peacefully stepped up to the plate in Columbus to stand against police violence. Along with them came several local advocacy groups such as BQIC, Columbus Freedom Fund as well as Columbus Stand Up, which was started this year by former congressional candidate Morgan Harper. These groups were able to keep the peace while still spreading their message, so hopefully their impact will ultimately change Columbus for the better in the years to come.

- COLUMBUS CREW SC AND #SAVETHECREW -This one is a bit personal, but thanks to a group of fans called #SaveTheCrew (that eventually grew into an international movement) the local soccer team that I’ve rooted for since I was a kid went on to not only be saved (as of 2018) but also earn a storybook ending in 2020 to become the first Columbus sports team to win a major league title in Columbus. Albeit being a sports story, it was a reminder that amazing things can happen when good people work together to do the right thing, even if it takes years to accomplish. Here’s hoping we can all accomplish even more meaningful things in 2021.